Weekend Racing Blog: Ascot's Clarence House Takes Centre Stage

Waiting Patiently’s Time Has Come in Saturday’s Grade 1 Chase at Ascot

Politologue may the best horse on the official ratings and the current champion chaser but I think Waiting Patiently (5/2 with bet365*) has the potential to win the Grade 1 Clarence House Chase at Ascot on Saturday afternoon (3.35pm).

The two miles and 167 yards contest is for horses aged five and older, will be run on soft ground and is a major trial for the Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

Defi Du Seuil won the race last year (pictured above) but was then only 4th behind Politologue in the race over the minimum distance that matters most. Defi Du Seuil may have been a beaten favourite last time out but is still a leading contender on his best form.

The owner of Politologue believes his horse is still underrated but he has nothing left to prove. Ascot may not be suited to his attributes but Waiting Patiently does go better on right-handed tracks such as here at Ascot. Finishing second in the King George VI Chase is the pick of his form.

Waiting Patiently is now aged 10 but has only raced 14 times under rules so doesn’t have many miles on the clock. The connections have indeed been waiting patiently for their horse’s days in the sun and it could be at Ascot this weekend and then Cheltenham in March. He beat Politologue by one and three quarter lengths at Haydock Park back in January 2017 but gave the runner-up three pounds. They are closely matched on form.

This Saturday’s chase at the highest level at Ascot does look like a three-horse race. Fanion D’Estruval (16/1 BetVictor) could be the fly in the ointment. He was going well when falling three out in a Grade 2 chase at Cheltenham in December but Waiting Patiently will be a tough nut to crack and he will be carrying my money.

Roksana Worthy Favourite in Mares’ Grade 2 Hurdle

The Grade 2 Mares’ Hurdle on the same card is a good opportunity for favourite Roksana (4/5 with bet365*) to win her sixth race in 16 starts. She is well ahead of the second favourite, Magic Of Light, on the ratings. That horse is a leading contender for the Grand National in April so this is a strange prep race.

Eglantine Du Seuil may give Roksana more to think about but the Paul Nicholls-trained runner has to show improvement to prevail. His horse has not win in nine starts but her last win was the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in 2019.

Coded Message and Midnight Tune are not good enough at this level so this really is a three-horse race. Neglecting the obvious can sometimes be the wrong decision and in this case Roksana ticks most of the boxes and cannot be ignored.

Windsor Avenue Has Form to Win Handicap Chase At Ascot

Fourteen horses have been declared for the handicap chase over two miles and five furlongs at 3pm at the Royal track. The four market leaders are priced between 11/2 and 13/2 so this is a wide open Class 2 contest that offers over £32,000 in prize money to the winner.

The favourite in most betting lists is Good Boy Bobby (11/2 with bet365*) who was fourth in the big handicap chase at Cheltenham at the end of last year. The horse could be a few pounds ahead of the handicapper but Windsor Avenue at 15/2 witb bet365* is my choice.

He was pulled up behind Good Boy Bobby at Cheltenham but finishing second behind Imperial Aura at Carlisle last November is the standout piece of form.

And finally…

Secret Reprieve was an impressive winner of the Welsh Grand National and could become the first seven-year-old to win the Grand National in April since 1940.

The key to the horse’s chances will be the weight allocation when the weights are announced for the Aintree marathon in February.

* Betting odds quoted were correct at the time of writing. All odds are subject to change.